The United States Department of Justice (DOJ) has seized $3.6 billion worth of cryptocurrencies linked to a 2016 hack of the Bitfinex currency exchange, which marks the biggest crypto-related seizure ever, according to a report by The Washington Post.
Ilya Lichtenstein, 34, was arrested in New York by the authorities together with his wife, Heather Morgan, 31, after conspiring to launder 119,754 coins that were stolen from the popular crypto trading platform. Lichtenstein and Morgan conducted over 2,000 illegal transactions. In order to cover their tracks, they would set up accounts with fake identities, use the "chain hopping" technique and deposit funds to shady dark web marketplaces such as AlphaBay.
After obtaining a search warrant, special agents were able to gain access to a cloud storage account operated by Lichtenstein. They found a file with private keys to the corresponding wallets containing the ill-gotten funds.
The two suspects are expected to appear in court on Tuesday for the first time.
Thanks to the meticulous work of law enforcement, the department once again showed how it can and will follow the money, no matter the form it takes.
Federal officials managed to confiscate 94,000 coins connected to the infamous hack, which remains one of the costliest security breaches to date.
Last week, roughly the same amount of Bitcoin was transferred from a cryptocurrency wallet associated with Bitfinex hackers. The authorities seized the funds on Jan. 31.
In November, the U.S. government received the green light to sell $56 million of fraud proceeds linked to key BitConnect promoter Glenn Arcaro.